Commissioning new vessels

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by Jennifer Perine, Captain –

During the weekend of June 12 – 14,16 cadets will graduate from the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont and receive their first appointments as Salvation Army officers. Captain Jennifer Perine, an education officer at CFOT reflects on the significance of commissioning.

I have often wondered what it would have been like to be at the commissioning of one of the great sailing ships or cruise liners of days gone by. I can picture the hundreds of well-wishers going down to the docks to see a new vessel placed in the water for its maiden voyage. I can feel the excitement in the air and the fresh ocean breeze on my face. I can hear the cheer that goes up from the crowd as the V.I.P. speaks the words “I commission this vessel” and breaks the champagne bottle on the hull.

Each spring in The Salvation Army excitement fills the air as we prepare to commission new vessels to do God’s work. These vessels are made not of iron and wood, but of flesh and bone—men and women who have chosen to follow God’s call to be ministers of the gospel through The Salvation Army. These men and women have given up employment, sold homes and personal belongings, and left family and friends behind to enter the College for Officer Training as cadets. For two years they have received instruction and training to do the job to which God has called them. Now it is time to place them in the water and commission them to that work.

Our new officers will be cargo ships, carrying great and heavy loads for people around them. They will be cruise ships bringing the joy and fellowship of Christ to their congregations. They will be rescue boats bringing the drowning and dying to the safe harbor of Christ Jesus. They will operate in smooth seas and stormy gales alike. They will move forward year after year doing the task to which God called them. But now as they begin this journey we pause to celebrate their commissioning.

In just a few weeks hundreds of well-wishers—officers, soldiers, family and friends—will make their way to the auditorium to hear General Shaw Clifton announce, “I commission you as an officer of The Salvation Army.” Join with me in celebration and prayer that God will keep them fit for the task.

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